Officials urge drivers to avoid I-80 multiple weekends this fall


JOLIET, Ill. — Drivers can expect major lane closures along I-80 in the Joliet area this fall as crews work to patch and repair the expressway.  

The work is being done to keep the pavement in acceptable condition until the larger I-80 reconstruction project begins in 2023.

The Illinois Department of Transportation hopes this planned weekend work in the Fall will help prevent further unplanned, emergency closures that we’ve seen more frequently recently due to degrading pavement and severe potholes.   

Starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, September 8, EB I-80 will be down to one lane between Raynor and Gardner.  The ramp from Chicago St to EB I-80 will also be closed.  Closures will be in place through 5 a.m. Monday, September 12.  The following weekend, closures will switch to the westbound side of I-80 and will alternate for approximately eight consecutive weekends this Fall from 10 p.m. Thursdays to 5 a.m. Mondays.  

The Illinois Department of Transportation is anticipating significant delays and is urging drivers to adjust their weekend schedules and avoid the area when lane closures are in place.  Unfortunately, there aren’t great alternates, especially for truck traffic.  Local streets can’t accommodate heavy or wide trucks, so that traffic will have to continue using I-80 during the lane closures.  This stretch of I-80 carries about 80,000 vehicles a day and about 25% of those are trucks. Other vehicles should consider US-52/US-30 and plan for major delays.  

In addition, starting at 9 p.m. August 29, traffic will split traveling eastbound on I-80 between Chicago St. and Briggs through late Fall. The ramp from EB I-80 to Richards will also close. Advance work for the larger I-80 reconstruction project is currently underway to replace the eastbound bridges over Hickory Creek, Richards St and Rowell Ave, while widening eastbound I-80 from Gardner to Rowell. When that is done later this year, similar work will start on the westbound side.  

Plans are currently being finalized on the overall I-80 reconstruction project that will rebuild a 16 mile stretch of the roadway from Ridge Rd in Minooka to US-30 in Joliet and New Lenox. Interchanges will be rebuilt or improved at I-55, IL-7, Center St, Chicago St, Richards St and Briggs St, with a new flyover ramp from SB I-55 to EB I-80.  The project is scheduled to run from 2023 to 2028 and is expected to cost $1.2 billion.  

Drivers can follow @I80Will on social media for the latest updates.   

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